Faced with likely Trump coronation, some GOP delegates quit

Running out of options to voice displeasure with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, some delegates who oppose him have flirted with a movement to try to upend next week’s GOP convention in Cleveland.

Others simply won’t go. Among those who gave up their seats is Rhode Island delegate Dawson Hodgson, a former state senator and 2014 candidate for attorney general, who resigned as a delegate because he wants no part in nominating Trump.

Hodgson said Trump “espouses views that are antithetical to American values of freedom and democracy” and is dividing the country along race and class lines.

“I wouldn’t condone it or participate in it or enable his actions in any way whatsoever,” he said.

He’s not the only one to voice his distaste by staying home.

In Ohio, Republican state Sen. Shannon Jones resigned from her convention spot, saying she didn’t want to participate in a process that would lead to Trump’s nomination. In Wisconsin, longtime Republican activist Michael Grebe, a close ally of Gov. Scott Walker and political mentor to House Speaker Paul Ryan, also withdrew over opposition to Trump. So did two of Arizona’s delegates.

Their resignations are a sign of the dissatisfaction among some established Republican activists about Trump’s candidacy and the effect it could have on down-ballot Republican races in November. But they are unlikely to make a difference in the convention’s outcome.

Finishing nearly 40 percentage points higher than his closest rival, Trump did so well among Rhode Island’s GOP voters in the April 26 primary that most of the state’s delegates are die-hard supporters who were elected to represent him.

Rhode Island is sending 19 GOP delegates to the convention. Twelve are bound to vote for Trump in the first ballot of the convention, and are likely to do so even if anti-Trump activists succeed in getting the rules changed.

Hodgson was elected as one of five delegates representing Ohio Gov. John Kasich. He’s been replaced by an alternate Kasich delegate, Christine Misto, who said she expects to vote for Kasich on the first ballot but is willing to support Trump as the nominee.

Only one of Rhode Island’s remaining GOP delegates, Woonsocket attorney Thomas Dickinson, has publicly aligned himself with the anti-Trump movement, but as a Kasich delegate his involvement doesn’t change Trump’s majority support.

Anti-Trump activists have been reaching out to delegates in hopes of finding an alternative to nominating Trump, but Rhode Island Republican Party Chairman Brandon Bell said it’s time to move on and support Trump against his likely Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

“This is done. This is the coronation. It’s time to celebrate,” Bell said.